Hallertau’s #3 Red Ale is an excellent food pairing beer. It’s not aggressively hoppy but it’s robust enough and has lots of roasty, malty flavours with a bit of sweetness. It goes excellently with grilled vegetables, or a wood-fired pizza. Hallertau Brewery is in Riverhead, Northwest of Auckland and is surrounded by lifestyle properties, vineyards and a lot of bike tracks and pine forest. If you were out riding your horse for a day, this is a beer you’d definitely like to finish the day with beside the fire.

I made the addition of a honey drizzle to this recipe, and found that the flavours of honey and mushroom go really well together…. especially with beer…. and with balls. Enjoy! Beer with balls.

Hallertau #3 Copper Tart and Mushroom Risotto Balls


  • 3 cups vege stock
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 200g Swiss brown mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup or 50g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • oil for shallow frying
  • 2 Tbsp honey


  1. Bring your stock to boil in a saucepan, then keep it to the side at a low simmer.
  2. Sautée the onion and garlic with the olive oil, then stir in the chopped mushrooms and cook 3-4 mins until softened.
  3. Add the rice and stir another 3-4 mins until evenly coated with oil. Add about 1/3 of the stock, stir gently and gently simmer until the stock is reduced, keep adding stock until all is absorbed (15-20 mins). The mixture should be al dente and slightly drier than standard risotto.
  4. Add the parmesan, salt and pepper. Then leave to cool for 1 hour.
  5. In 3 separate bowls, place your flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Heat the frying oil in a pan over a medium heat. Then take tablespoons of the risotto mix, roll it into a ball with your hands and dip it into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Repeat the coating of egg and breadcrumbs. Then fry lightly on all sides.
  6. Once browned, place the risotto balls on paper towels to drain. If you are not serving immediately, place them in the oven to keep warm or reheat at 150C.
  7. When ready to serve, prepare a honey sauce with equal parts honey and water. Drizzle this over the top.



Beer + food pairing #9

Cos beer goes with more than just snarlers on the barbie, here is a perfect (and healthier) Summer BBQ alternative: ceviche.

This classic Peruvian-style raw fish dish is famous all over the world, and goes excellently with the citrus flavours of the Sauvin hops in this beer. Sauvin is a NZ varietal hop named after the grape Sauvignon Blanc due to its fruity, white wine characters. As Sauvignon Blanc is often paired with seafood, it makes sense that this beer should also work well with fish.


Saison (meaning “Season”) is a French farm-style pale ale. Traditionally it would be brewed in the cooler months to be drunk during Summer by the saisonniers (seasonal workers) who were allocated daily portions. It is a versatile style, as many types of grains, fruit and spices could be added depending what the farmers had on hand. The saison yeast imparts flavours of hay, fruity esters and wholegrain bread.

8 Wired have created a contemporary-style Saison with a blend of malts including Pilsner, Wheat and Crystal malts. It has a balance of earthy notes and tropical flavours due to its Sauvin hops, with a decent body and cloudy appearance.

Bon appétit!


  • 3 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 500g fresh, firm white fish (e.g. kingfish, trevally, snapper, gurnard, tarakihi)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice (I used a mixture of half/half)
  • 1/4 telegraph cucumber
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • 2 long orange kumara
  • crusty bread to serve
  • a bottle of 8 wired Saison Sauvin


  1. Peel the orange kumara and cut slices around 2cm wide. Boil in lightly salted water until they are just tender (10-15 mins) then set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the sugar and vinegar in a small bowl and add the red onion. Pop into the fridge to marinate and pickle while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. Prepare the fish. (You want to use the freshest fish you can, because although the citric acid in the lime/lemon juice will denature the proteins in the fish to give it the appearance of being cooked, this curing process does not kill bacteria.) Slice or dice your fish into bite-sized pieces, then add the lime/lemon juice and mix though in a large non-metal bowl. Leave to marinate in the fridge until you are ready to make the dish (minimum of 15 mins and max of 3-4 hours).
  4. To make the ceviche, drain the fish but reserve a little of the marinating juice. Drain the red onion slices and mix these through. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and dice the cucumber. Mix these, with chopped coriander leaves and a little marinating juice, into the fish. Season with a little salt to taste.
  5. Serve the ceviche over the cooled kumara slices. Some grilled bread drizzled with olive oil makes a great side to this dish, and of course your 8 wired Saison Sauvin.

Adapted from a recipe by Nadia Lim.


Beer + food pairing #9

Beervana: Consider everything an experiment

While I was down in Wellington, I met some people, drank some beer and saw some art. I also got soaking wet socks, took my suitcase into a supermarket, and totally overcame my fear of drinking alone.

But the best part is looking back on the festival and seeing how much creativity was there and potential for diverse experiences.

The stalls ranged from a simple set-up with a tablecloth and a few bottles, these type of stalls were typically manned or womanned by the brewer themselves, to a slick party-vibe set-up (such as Garage Project, celebrating their 5th birthday who provided party hats and where you could buy fairy bread and Traffic Light themed beverages!)

Me and Pip on the far right, at Garage Project’s 5th Birthday stall

I also especially liked Eagle Brewery’s “Brewing Bad”, a Breaking Bad themed bar, which is also where I tried the most unusual beer of the night. The Arty Farty Sahti tasted like dried bananas, with a lovely smooth rich mouthfeel. My review on the beervana app is “If u like deep fried bananas this beer is for you!!” Okay maybe I had fried food on my brain by this point in the night, or my brain was totally fried, but it’s accurate!

Photo credit @EagleBrewingNZ on Twitter

“A complex mix of Juniper, clove, banana and sweet rye malt.” Sahti is a Finnish farm-style beer, developed using ingredients available near the farm such as Juniper branches, berries, herbs and spices. It is a cloudy beer, made using a long step infusion mash and traditionally filtered through Juniper twigs or made using Juniper berries instead of hops. It has yeasty and phenolic flavours and a distinct banana taste due to the production of isoamyl acetate by the yeast used. Some examples have a sour quality, but this one was on the dessert spectrum.

I kind of over-did the sour beers, the Traffic Light from Garage Project literally tipped me over the edge at 3.0% ABV. I was thankful to taste a decent APA (or an IPL from Basecamp Brewery, Oregon). I came across an excellent hoppy Pilsner called “Pop’n Pils” from B.effect Brewing Co. based in Wanaka. They said it was a hit at Ryhthm and Alps, and I can see why. It sings out Summer Festivals for me.

Another interesting discovery were Mash Tun Crackers, reincarnated from mash used to make Tuatara’s Heather Ale “Heather lives on.” I found the Heather Ale a little tart for me at that point, preferring Tuatara’s Wild Pumpkin Ale that had a bit more sweetness and finished with a nice touch of vegetable character. And I just can’t get enough of Good George’s Blueberry Gose, “Fruity, dry, balanced, all round yum-ness” my notes say approvingly.

So those were my highlights. I tasted around 30 beers in total, over three sessions. I made some new friends, partied at the Choice Bros Silent Disco, then made a trip to the Wellington City Gallery the next day. There I discovered a wonderful 1960s pop-hippie artist, a Catholic Nun, activist and teacher called Sister Corita.

Image credit Sean St. Lewis from his blog
art rules
Sister Corita’s art rules, popularized by John Cage

Sister Corita’s art rules are me in a nutshell. Do the things and worry about why afterwards. Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. Drink the beer, talk to the people, go to the places. “Rule 4: Consider Everything An Experiment.”

Beervana: Consider everything an experiment

Beer + food pairing #4

This makes me excited. I feel so sophisticated because I learned to make Labneh! Then I discovered an incredible beer to pair with it. I’ll share a hint with you: making Labneh is easy, it will impress the shit out of your friends and even their offspring. You just need to start 24 hours in advance.

#4 Renaissance Scotch Ale + Harissa honey labneh


  • a piece of muslin cheese cloth or large clean chux cloth
  • a plastic strainer (metal will rust)
  • a large bowl
  • some fridge space


  • 1 Litre of natural yoghurt
  • 2 tsp good quality salt
  • 2 tsp harissa powder
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • fresh carrots
  • 1 bottle of Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale


  1. Mix the salt and yoghurt. Place the cheese cloth or a clean piece of chux cloth into the strainer and position this over a large bowl. Pour in the yoghurt and leave it to strain in the fridge overnight, tipping out the whey (or you can use this for smoothies, I didn’t).
  2. After 24 hours, take the thickened yoghurt and mix in the honey, harissa and tahini to taste.
  3. Serve with carrot sticks, or any dipping implement of your choice.

I suggest adding the honey and harissa in small quantities so you can find a balance you like. On my first attempt I used a Tunisian Chilli Harissa sauce, made by a company called Nelson Naturally. It is quite sweet already, so I threw in the tahini to balance this out. This combination won me over with its fragrant, earthy, dukkah flavours. I found this matched well with the toasty, burnt earth qualities of the Scotch Ale.

Renaissance Brewing Company’s Stonecutter is so hearty and such a great beer to pair with food, it would actually stand in for a glass of red wine at the dinner table. I challenge you to find something this beer does not go with! Well actually, don’t waste your time. But you could take this recipe a step further: roast your carrots, maybe with some venison or baby beets, THEN top it off with the Harissa honey labneh. I have a feeling the Stonecutter would still be a perfect match.


Additional recipe:

Slow-cooker Pulled Pork (serve with Harissa honey labneh and Roasted baby carrots)

While you are starting off your labneh, why not throw some pork shoulder into the slow cooker? This combination is even better than I thought it would be.

Additional ingredients:

  • 1.5kg pork shoulder, bone in
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp harissa powder
  • ground black pepper
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange
  • Harissa honey labneh (see recipe above)
  • 250g baby carrots


  1. Cut the pork shoulder into 4 pieces, so that it will fit snugly into your slow cooker.
  2. Mix the salt, pepper and harissa powder in a small bowl. Coat the 4 pieces of pork shoulder evenly in this mix, reserving about 1 Tbsp of the salt mix.
  3. Lightly fry the pork pieces, once browned place them into the slow cooker.
  4. Add the stock, red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp salt mix, cinnamon, 2-3 pieces of orange peel and the juice from the orange.
  5. Cook on high for 3 hours, then low for 2 hours.
  6. The next day, remove your pork pieces and pour the stock into another bowl. Pull the pork meat from the bone and remove the fat. Return it to the slow cooker with enough stock to cover. Bring it back to the boil for another 30 mins.
  7. While the pork is cooking, wash your baby carrots thoroughly. Sprinkle them with a little salt and olive oil and bake them at 200C for around 15mins.
  8. Serve the pulled pork with a dollop of labneh on top and baby carrots on the side. And, of course, the Stonecutter Scotch Ale.




Beer + food pairing #4